The latest slew of Google updates took many by surprise, especially since there were four that occurred within a four-day span. For ecommerce marketers, these updates can be taxing and difficult to follow. Even SEO experts are spinning their wheels wondering what is up Google’s sleeve next.
The biggest news came when Google announced its exact-match domain update. Essentially this algorithm change targeted “low quality” websites with domains that reflected the exact match to a keyword the website was targeting.
Does this mean that ALL exact match domains are doomed?
Not exactly. It’s important to note that this update targeted “low quality” sites only, which means that if your site is valuable, whether or not you have an exact-match domain, it should not become a statistic.
Unfortunately, whenever these new updates launch, they are not always accurate. A high-quality site may suffer a downgrade even though it wasn’t deserved and a low-quality site may stay where it is even though it deserved a downgrade. This scenario is not uncommon when Google first rolls out new algorithm changes. Google will take a look at the results over the next several weeks and make the necessary tweaks.
If your site was affected by the exact match domain update, yet you feel it was wrongly downgraded, you may recover in about a month or less once Google makes its adjustments. If you do not recover, it’s likely your site was affected by the three other updates that occurred at the same time. The exact match domain update affected 0.6% of English-US queries.
What’s interesting is that Google updated Panda at the same time and this affected four times as many sites as the exact match domain update. So there is a good chance that Panda may be the culprit for your website’s movement in the search engines.
If you suspect you were affected by Panda, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Ensure your content is unique, high-quality and useful to your readers and customers.
- Your content should be grammatically correct, provide value and be factual.
- Your content should not be a copy of another website even if it is entirely unique. Avoid stating the same information just to get content on a page.
- Avoid adding too many affiliate links on your sites. Your content should be visible above the fold and useful enough to substantiate the affiliate advertisements. Don’t simply re-post the vendor’s information, but add more creative content that brings another level of value to your website.
- Always, prioritize your readers. Avoid spinning content or simply re-writing it just to fill up space. Ask yourself if you would gain value from the content. If not, do not publish it.
The third update Google recently rolled out was not exactly an update, but a refresh. If your site was not “Penguin compliant” the first time it launched, your site may have been downgraded during this refresh.
Penguin dealt with over-optimization. If you are still unclear on what Penguin is, begin by reading this article.
Ensure your link anchor text is well diversified with all kinds of generic phrases, with only a small percentage targeting your exact match keyword. Also, vary your linking methods and pay more attention to the quality of sites linking to you. They should be valuable and related to the topic of your website.
Page Layout Algorithm
The last update focused sites that served up too many ads above the fold without enough content to please visitors. Let your content be one of the first elements users see instead of multiple ads.
These Google updates all occurred at precisely the same time, so if your website was affected, it is difficult to pinpoint the actual problem. Make sure you are compliant with all of Google’s guidelines and you may recover during the next update/refresh Google launches. Good luck!